Central London is coming out in celebration of Pride as the Intersex-Inclusive Pride Flag adorns our iconic curve in support of the LGBTIQA+ community this June and July.
Pride events in our neighbourhood
The Pride in London parade route will follow the historic from the first 1972 parade, heading down Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus through St James’s to Whitehall. Delve into memories of Pride with our photo gallery with GAY TIMES.
Get parade-ready, learn about Micro Rainbow's fantastic work and hear from the community at GAY TIMES' Pride pop-up on 48 Regent Street from 29th June to 1st July. A hub for creativity, connections and conversation, take photos with your chosen family, visit a pop-up exhibition, and make your own placards and badges for the parade.
Joining the march on 1 July? Share your photos with us this year at @RegentStreetW1 and @StJamesLondon on Instagram.
A brief introduction to some of the Pride flags
1978: The Rainbow Pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker as a symbol for hope and to create visibility. Each colour was given a different meaning: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, indigo for serenity and violet for spirit. This was later developed into a six stripe flag, and is largely considered to be representative of natural diversity in sexual and romantic orientations.
1999: The Trans Pride flag was created by Monica Helms. It has five stripes, and three colours, “light blue, the traditional masculine colour… pink the traditional feminine colour… and white for those transitioning or who have neutral or undefined gender.” This flag represents natural diversity in gender identity and expression. Trans is an umbrella term to describe gender identity that does not correspond to sex assignment at birth.
2013: The Intersex Pride flag was designed by Morgan Carpenter. The golden yellow background is a colour that “avoids gender stereotypes”, and the purple hoop “symbolises wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.” This flag represents natural diversity in sex characteristics. Primary sex characteristics are those we are born with and secondary sex characteristics are those we develop at puberty.
2017: Under the leadership of American civil rights activist Amber Hikes, Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs developed Baker’s original rainbow design with the addition of black and brown stripes creating the Philly Pride flag as part of the More Colour More Pride campaign. The additional stripes represent “black, brown, people of colour, and indigenous peoples in the LGBTIQA+ community”.
2018: Daniel Quasar developed Hikes’ Philly flag, by incorporating the Trans flag to create the Progress Pride flag. Also adding representation for those living with HIV and those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and the surrounding stigma.
2021: Valentino Vecchietti (she/they) developed Quasar’s flag, incorporating the Intersex Pride Flag to create the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag. This flag is an Inclusion flag; it maintains the meaning and intentions of the previous iterations of the Pride flag, and now also enshrines the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 - the international human rights framework which recognises natural diversity in sexual orientation and diverse orientations, gender identity & expression, and sex characteristics, abbreviated to SOGIESC.
Q&A with flag designer, Valentino Vecchietti
We sat down with the creator of the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag, intersex equality campaigner, writer, artist, and founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK, Valentino Vecchietti (she/they) to understand more about why Pride and representation are still so vital.
1. What led you to design the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag and why are flags important?
I created the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag to bring intersex inclusion to our global Pride flag. I wanted to bring my community joy, and to create greater allyship and support for people with natural diversity in their sex characteristics. At the time, my global community were feeling the isolation of lockdown, and we were struggling to find resources, raise awareness, and gain support. In the UK, we had just discovered that we weren’t included in the 2021 Census. I knew I needed to do something bold to raise intersex visibility, and the Pride flag presented a beautiful and symbolic tool of allyship. I posted the flag on Instagram, which was picked up by a journalist who wrote an article saying, “This is the new Pride flag” and my flag became a global, viral, sensation overnight. It was so moving, people all over the world were saying, ‘Yes, we’re here for intersex inclusion’.
2. For those who may not know, what is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term for natural diversity in sex characteristics. Our primary sex characteristics are those we are born with such as chromosomes, and our internal and external sex organs, and our secondary sex characteristics develop at puberty. We have much more diversity in our bodies than is typical. Recent statistics reflect that the intersex population is approximately 3% of the population. Globally that is 340 million, and in the UK around 2.4 million. Because of the lack of knowledge of our existence, we continue to experience stigma and discrimination in society.
Although sex characteristics are distinct from gender identity and sexual orientation, we can experience many of the same oppressions in society, and so we can really benefit from the allyship and solidarity of the LGBTIQA+ community. Pride season is a wonderful time to raise awareness, to celebrate our natural diversity, and to feel joy.
3. You founded Intersex Equality Rights UK, can you tell us a little more about this?
Intersex Equality Rights UK is an Intersex-led organisation, working to create inclusion, equity and representation for our community. Our aim is to create systemic change through research, campaigns, and by working together with cultural and LGBTIQA+ organizations, businesses, and Government.
Although sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) is included in the UK Equality Act 2010, sex characteristics are not, and because of this hate crime legislation does not protect us. We aim to extend inclusion to SOGIESC so that our community can be afforded the same rights and protections from discrimination.
4. Please can you tell us more about your global Pride flag work?
As a lesbian and a person born with an intersex variation, a second generation immigrant to the UK, and as a person with mixed heritage, I feel seen on this flag. The outstanding global support for the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag is truly an honour. It has given me an international platform to create awareness of the natural diversity our Pride flag represents. To campaign for the protections and rights that we all continue to seek, and to empower people with knowledge and hope.
Through my Pride flag work I am building a global network of support, which is particularly focused on uplifting the most marginalised in our global SOGIESC communities.
If you work in a business which is interested in supporting this work, please get in touch via LinkedIn.
5. How do you mark Pride month and what does Pride mean to you?
Pride is a time for us to celebrate and feel the joy of being ourselves. I love seeing our Intersex Pride flag included on our global Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag. It is a constant joy to receive the messages from people in our community, families, and allies from across the world, who share their support and say how much intersex inclusion and visibility means to them.
For me, there is also a duty in being the creator of our new Pride flag, to ensure that I honour this opportunity by working to create the systemic change that our entire SOGIESC community needs. Speaking at Prides and Pride networks allows me to create support and empower people with knowledge. We all exist 365 days a year and we need to feel safe in our schools, universities, hospitals, places of employment, and in society.
I have loved working with the team at Regent Street again this year. The flag display and vinyls are a beautiful symbol of allyship and joy, which is so meaningful. I can't wait to spend time on Regent Street and enjoy the atmosphere this Pride!
6. What can people do to support your community to feel more included and welcome? Any words to live by or practices to follow?
The first step of allyship is education. You can learn more about the global history and key issues of the intersex community by watching my film lecture: Intersex Stories: Activism, Resistence and Being, which I created for the British Film Institute in 2022. I also have a monthly intersex column in DIVA magazine.
Intersex Awareness Weeks run from 17th October to the 13 November, with Intersex Awareness Day (#IAD) on 26th October, and Intersex Day of Remembrance (#IDoR) on the 8th November.
You can follow and contact me on Instagram at @Valentino_Vecchietti and my organisation at @Intersex_Equality_Rights_UK, and at @ValentinoInter and @WeAreIERUK on Twitter. On LinkedIn, it's Valentino Vecchietti.
You can also download and use the flag yourself, after answering three simple questions.
Whether we want to be loud and proud about being intersex, and feel part of the LGBTIQA+ community, or whether we are more private, please remember, never out somebody. Always make space for people to make choices for themselves, and to remember that the names we use to describe ourselves are a personal choice and not a label. We are not a homogenous group, but we all share the need to live safely and to be given the opportunity to thrive.
7. We have to ask, what do you love about central London?
I am a huge fan of South-Korean fashion and K-pop. My favourite group is BTS! I love wearing oversized, white apparel. I am hugely inspired by the window displays on Regent Street and enjoy finding unique ways to express my authentic self. I am also looking forward to spending time with friends during Pride and enjoying the beautiful green, open, spaces in the heart of our capital city.
I am delighted to be speaking about my Pride flag work and intersex inclusion at the GAY TIMES pop-up reception on the evening of the 29th June - and am excited for all the GAY TIMES community events in 2023.